You Have Two Ears and One Mouth- Use Them in That Proportion
Understanding the limitations of the staff, managing agent and fellow board-members is important. Although the staff reports to the managing agent, the managing agent reports to their firm first and ultimately to the board. The board then reports to the residents. The managing agent has, in most cases, multiple buildings with multiple emergencies such as leaks, fires, floods; and of course loose cats.
As the decision-maker, the board is in charge and needs to set the overall tone. Only when there are clear goals, systems and plans, will all of the involved parties in the organization thrive.
It is not uncommon that boards and residents tell us that their staff is lazy or is in “cahoots” with the managing agent. It is also not uncommon to hear that boards are unhappy with their managing agent. We could give you a very long list of all the reasons they think so, but in reality, the culprit is more often than not the board.
Identify what is required by law; what is urgent, what is needed; what would reduce ongoing costs; what residents want. Then, prioritize what all this entails. Most residents want to live in a safe home with an inviting and friendly atmosphere and probably with as many amenities as possible while paying as little as possible. This is not an easy task to realize, especially since the board members most likely all have jobs, families, other activities and commitments.
Have a Long-term Plan
Ask yourself, what is your ultimate desired outcome? Is it a more cost-efficient building, a greener building, more amenities to better compete with the new luxury condos or something else? Or, are you perfectly happy with the current state of your building and the yearly rate increase that you pass on to your residents and neighbors?
In our Co-op & Condo Board adaptation of Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the first 3 habits discuss changing your mindset from being too dependent upon others to being completely independent and self-reliant. Here’s Habit #1 addressing the importance of being proactive or plan ahead.
Have you ever heard of a motivational self-help book for Co-op and Condo Boards? Neither have we. This adaptation of Stephen R. Covey’s 1989 Free Press book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a self-help book for Co-op and Condo Boards detailing how to run a more efficient building.
Running a Condo Association is no simple task. You must manage a budget, keep a building in good repair, fix issues for Owners, deal with unexpected disasters, manage crazy Board members, and more. Although this can be daunting, there are certain Condo Association management basics which will help guide you towards success.
Summer is here and in the midst of such heat, next year’s winter heating season can seem distant. However, the best time to manage next year’s heating costs, if you haven’t started already, is TODAY! Most buildings have old and inefficient boilers and heating systems, which creates both unnecessary costs and carbon output, as well as discomfort. Here are some tips on what to prioritize and where to start:
If you’re a board member of a coop or condo building, you and your board undoubtedly work hard to represent your fellow owners. While owners want you to maintain your shared home at the lowest cost possible, the primary board and management responsibilities are the management of day-to-day operations, as well as special requests and emergencies. This leaves very little extra time to devote to serious cost cutting.
When your co-op or condo elects new board members, they will bring innovative and diverse ideas to the table. Residents always have high expectations that new board members will solve lingering issues, find new approaches to meet resident needs, and better manage fixed and variable costs. Utilizing social media, "greening" the building, and utilizing expert residential co-op and condo consultants are just a few of the ways board members are tackling the complexity of multi-residential housing challenges.